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Samsung’s Yoon meets Best Buy CEO Joly

Appliance chief fulfills promise to meet Mohan ahead of next year’s CES

Samsung president Yoon Boo-keun
Samsung president Yoon Boo-keun
Top Samsung executives on Thursday held a meeting with their Best Buy counterparts including CEO Hubert Joly and home business president Mike Mohan, to discuss Samsung’s consumer electronics lineup in the coming new year, sources close to the Korean electronics maker said on Sunday.

Yoon Boo-keun, Samsung’s chief of consumer electronics business, was the main participant from the Korean side, along with Shin Jong-kyun, president of Samsung’s IT and mobile division, the sources said, declining to be identified.

Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jay-yong was reportedly not present at the meeting. 

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly
Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly
Best Buy is one of the largest retailers in the U.S. and enjoys close ties with Samsung. Ever since the two began efforts on a joint supply management chain, they have enjoyed close ties. Samsung considers Best Buy as one of its best pilot channels.

In April, Samsung Experience Shops, outlets operated by the Korean tech giant, were installed in Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile locations the U.S. Samsung is the only firm after Apple to enjoy such treatment.

“Meetings between Samsung and retailers like Best Buy are held on a regular basis, especially at this time of the year,” said one industry expert.

The two companies have made it a habit of discussing the products that will go on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas each January. Samsung usually shows off the pieces to its top resellers and partners ahead of the show. Samsung also may be out to target year-end shoppers in the U.S.

However, other sources close to Samsung said the latest meeting was likely more about how to “ramp up sales of Samsung’s existing products, rather than focusing on new products.”

The comments appeared to reflect concerns about Galaxy S4 sales and the lukewarm reception of the Galaxy Gear.

The recent meeting came on the heels of a casual encounter between president Yoon and president Mohan on the sidelines of the IFA 2013 Berlin trade show last month.

Meeting Mohan at Samsung’s “Club des Chefs” cooking event, Yoon called the executive a “good friend and business partner.”

Yoon also made arrangements to meet Mohan in a more relaxed setting later on, at The Restaurant run by chef Kostow in Napa Valley, California before the Consumers Electronics Show 2014 in Las Vegas.

While the meeting with Best Buy officials is unlikely to lead to a stake acquisition, as most market experts point out Samsung has no real financial incentive ― “there is no reason for the electronics giant, which has already established a good relationship with the American retailer, to make that kind of extra investment in its partner,” according to one analyst ― relations with top retailers such as Best Buy are indeed critical.

In a related issue, Samsung said it is also strengthening ties with other retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sears as well.

By Kim Young-won  (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)
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